The "I Waited 96 Years" Project Lets Women Born Before the 19th Amendment Explain Why The 2016 Election Is So Important
Americans have a lot at stake in the 2016 election — something which women born before the 19th Amendment's passage know exceedingly well. Because their right to vote doesn't feel like a given, they're all the more determined to take advantage of it. And the website I Waited 96 Years showcases exactly why the possibility of having a woman president is especially exciting to those who lived through an era when women didn't even have many basic rights.
I Waited 96 Years has collected their thoughts on what it was like to grow up in a time when women didn't have or had just gotten the right to vote and what the 2016 election means to them. Sarah Benor started the project after a Facebook post about her grandmother, who was born two years before the 19th Amendment passed and just voted for Hillary Clinton, went viral. "It received over 1,600 likes and many comments about how moving that is, how it was bringing people to tears, how they wanted to share it with their children and their grandchildren," she told NPR.
"It's been a lot of work, but it's been worth it because we get to learn about so many impressive women with interesting life stories," Benor tells Bustle over email. "I hope our site has reminded people of this historic moment and what it means to so many older women."
Now, through the site as well as social media and media interviews, we have access to some inspiring thoughts on the election from women it means the world to. Here are just a few of them.
"My Mother Was Among The First"
"It started before I was born. My mother was among the first women to cut her hair short and to switch from the long skirts that dragged in the mud to short dresses. It's all about our rights, starting with the right to vote. When I got old enough to understand, how proud I was to learn what the suffragettes dared do to win women's right to vote. But the fight went on until African Americans won the right to vote. We'll never let anyone take that away from us!" —Beatrice Lumpkin, Chicago, IL
"I Never Expected To Reach This Point In My Lifetime"
"I traveled a long distance in my life — from the shtetls in Russia to Romania to Canada and finally to the United States in 1930 — and became a citizen in 1945. I am so excited about the prospect of a lady president. I am [an] immigrant to this country and never expected to reach this point in my lifetime. She is opening the door for future women presidents. I'm with HER." —Esther Diamond, Queens, NY
"I Am Proud To Vote For Her"
"I am shortly 98 and proud to vote for a woman. I wouldn't vote for a woman unless I believed in her. Hillary is an admirer of, and shares the values of my hero, Eleanor Roosevelt. Hillary is competent, experienced, and committed to bringing us a ‘New Deal’ now. I am proud to vote for her — for what she stands for!" —Terry Cohen, Margaretville, NY
"It's A Glorious Moment"
"When I was born, women were not allowed to vote. Now we are on the brink of a woman becoming the President of the United States. It's a glorious moment." —Gloria Edelstein, Laguna Woods, CA
"I Was Born one Month Before Women Got The Vote"
"I was born one month before women got the vote and voted in every election once I was 21. I will be happy to be able to walk to my neighborhood polling place on November 8 to vote for Hillary!" —Helen Vinikoor, Philadelphia, PA
"I'm Amazed ... To Have Lived To See This Day"
"I’m amazed and pleased to have lived to see this day. Congratulations in advance, Madame President!" —Millie Hurka, Deltona, FL
"We Have To Have Her Win. You Know Why."
"I have been voting for as long as I can remember, but it is unusually wonderful because this time we are voting for a lady candidate. She is so intelligent and has such wonderful experience. I can't say how proud I am to get to vote for her. Also we have to have her win. You know why." —Alice Siegel, Pittsburgh, PA
"I Don't Think There's Been A Better Person For The Job"
"Hillary is good for America. She's strong and knows what she's talking about. I don't think there's been a better person for the job! I'm proud to vote for her." —Elaine Osher, Plattsburgh, NY